Heralded as a "Genuine Honkey Tonk Rib Joint", the Dinosaur features Americana at its best. By that I mean, the restaurant excels in two of America's greatest inventions: Blues music and Barbeque. Located in the most unlikely of places, Upstate New York, the Dinosaur Barbeque boasts some back beat music and dry rubbed ribs that would rival anything served up in the Heart of the Delta.
The restaurant is hard to find. One needs to take a few turns in downtown Syracuse before they see the bright lights. You know you have reached the Dinosaur when you hear the music, smell the hickory smoke, and see the long line of Harley's in the front. The building has two sections, one for the family and one for the s. Generally, it’s easier to be served in the family section, but the music is played near the bar. Either way, there generally is a wait.
There is nothing special about the decor. It looks like any roadhouse should. Dark wood-paneled walls covered with many posters and advertisements. Whenever there is someone crooning some tunes, you can bet that there is a dance floor for some of the local flair to jump out and shake a leg. Be prepared, this place is loud and smoky; however, that just adds to the ambiance.
The food is what really separates this place from all other blues theme restaurants. The food here is not good but amazing. For first-timers, a rack of ribs will serve up nicely. Theses ribs are dry rubbed, smoked, and then slathered with the Dinosaur's signature sauce (they have an entire inventory in which all items are worth bringing home). These ribs are huge and have large amounts of meat that fall right off of the bone. Did I say they taste good? Some of the other food that I have tried is also excellent including: all their side dishes, pulled pork, rice and beans, wings, and smoked prime rib.
For all those who are driving up Rt. 81 or the New York State Thruway, pull off the highway and make a stop in Syracuse. You may have to wait and you will leave smelling of cigarette smoke, but trust me, you won't mind afterwards.
Note- the Dinosaur recently opened a second restaurant in Rochester. It's just a good as the original.